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Defjamz26

Zachary Cunningham: I Don't See the Hype

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I am a fan of Vanderbilt and Cincinnati in college football. I watched about 6 Vandy games this year when I was not working.

 

Cunningham is a beast. Please realize that Vanderbilt's defense was terrible all year and the only players who seemed like they were actually knew what they were doing were Cunningham, Wiley, and Burks.

 

Cunningham literally had to carry this defense by himself. He was ALL SEC, Led the SEC in tackles (#2 was 22 tackles behind him), and averaged close to 10 tackles a game. He does not have the best form but he can obviously get the job done and will get better in the NFL. Cunningham also forced 2 fumbles and blocked a kick. He is a very athletic ILB and could get bigger in the NFL. Coverage wise I couldn't say I noticed him much. I will say he is defiantly athletic enough and that could possibly make up for some mistakes. He probably wouldn't get beat as bad as some other guys on the Colts have lately. Cunningham still has plenty of room to improve which makes this all more impressive.

 

If Cunningham is there when the Colts pick it would be a solid pick. There are some guys who could be better but I do not personally (im no expert) see Cunningham being a bust. Now Im not a homer either and will be truthful about whether I think Vandy players will become good players in the NFL. The only player in recent years I have have said would be a good player was Jordan Matthews. He has been solid for the Eagles. There are only a few guys on the Vandy team who have a cahnce at a decent NFL future. Those guys are Ralph Webb (absolute stud RB), Oren Burks, and Zach Cunningham.

 

 

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I forgot to post my negatives:

 

1.) Doesn't seem to have a high motor. Seems to give up on many plays he still has a chance to do something.

2.) Like the original poster stated. Does arm tackle quite a bit. I think that could be fixed though.

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I see some talent in Cunningham and there is upside with that big frame. Think when you're that tall its hard to get real low and a lot of tackles end up being arm tackles, although he does bring them down. I mean its abnormal for a ILB to be 6'4". He doesnt lack for effort and want to. Hes athletic and all the other good stuff. I still like Jarrad Davis the best, and Raekwon Mcmillan. Cunningham has upside though with some tweaks.

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I haven't seen what they wrote about him this year, but just glancing over this PFF article from 2015 they seem to be pretty high on him as well.  They do note about the tackling issues, but noted that his missed tackle percentage was less than Jaylon Smith.  A guy who a lot of people on this forum last year were very high on. Smith did go on to improve though.

 

 

" If there’s one place in which Cunningham must to improve, it’s his ability to finish plays and tackle. He’ll often attack ball carriers too high, leading to his falling off too many tackles or whiffing completely. Even when he does complete the tackle, he doesn’t finish with quite the same power that he shows when looking to take on blocks.

 

Cunningham missed one of every 9.7 tackle attempts — 44th-best among inside linebackers — which is actually better than former Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith fared as a sophomore in 2014 when he missed one out of every 6.6 attempts. Smith improved his tackling as a junior before going down to injury and getting drafted in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys, and if Cunningham can make similar strides, he’ll put himself in great position to become an All-American and potentially a top-round draft choice.

With a strong showing as a redshirt sophomore, Cunningham has already attracted the NFL’s attention, it’s now time to take the next step in his game. He’s flashed range and play-making ability in coverage, and improving his play recognition will put him in position to make even more plays. Cunningham is a willing run defender, capable of taking on and defeating blocks, but he must improve his tackling and ability to finish plays. If he can continue to progress, Cunningham heads into the 2016 season as a potential All-American candidate and NFL scouts will be keeping a close eye on his development whether he comes out this year or in 2017.

https://www.profootballfocus.com/college-football-vanderbilt-zach-cunningham-is-the-best-linebacker-youve-never-heard-of/

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9 hours ago, krunk said:

I haven't seen what they wrote about him this year, but just glancing over this PFF article from 2015 they seem to be pretty high on him as well.  They do note about the tackling issues, but noted that his missed tackle percentage was less than Jaylon Smith.  A guy who a lot of people on this forum last year were very high on. Smith did go on to improve though.

 

 

" If there’s one place in which Cunningham must to improve, it’s his ability to finish plays and tackle. He’ll often attack ball carriers too high, leading to his falling off too many tackles or whiffing completely. Even when he does complete the tackle, he doesn’t finish with quite the same power that he shows when looking to take on blocks.

 

Cunningham missed one of every 9.7 tackle attempts — 44th-best among inside linebackers — which is actually better than former Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith fared as a sophomore in 2014 when he missed one out of every 6.6 attempts. Smith improved his tackling as a junior before going down to injury and getting drafted in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys, and if Cunningham can make similar strides, he’ll put himself in great position to become an All-American and potentially a top-round draft choice.

With a strong showing as a redshirt sophomore, Cunningham has already attracted the NFL’s attention, it’s now time to take the next step in his game. He’s flashed range and play-making ability in coverage, and improving his play recognition will put him in position to make even more plays. Cunningham is a willing run defender, capable of taking on and defeating blocks, but he must improve his tackling and ability to finish plays. If he can continue to progress, Cunningham heads into the 2016 season as a potential All-American candidate and NFL scouts will be keeping a close eye on his development whether he comes out this year or in 2017.

https://www.profootballfocus.com/college-football-vanderbilt-zach-cunningham-is-the-best-linebacker-youve-never-heard-of/

Even that write up only makes him sound like a second round project. But a team with good coaching might take him higher. Like New England. I see the upside but I didn't see the mark of a future elite player. I think his floor is obviously low but even his ceiling I feel is like Jamie Collins or D'Onta Hightower. Athletic LB, makes some plays, but nothing special.

 

I haven't seen a game where he just absolutely dominated.

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On 12/30/2016 at 4:54 PM, Defjamz26 said:

Yup. All I see is an athletic guy with a thin frame.

Agreed. He does seem to have some nice athleticism and sheds some blocks really well, but what good is shedding blocks when you aren't very close to the play anyways? Haha. Maybe I'll come around to his potential as the off-season progresses, but right now I'd pass if he is a first rounder.

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14 hours ago, krunk said:

I see some talent in Cunningham and there is upside with that big frame. Think when you're that tall its hard to get real low and a lot of tackles end up being arm tackles, although he does bring them down. I mean its abnormal for a ILB to be 6'4". He doesnt lack for effort and want to. Hes athletic and all the other good stuff. I still like Jarrad Davis the best, and Raekwon Mcmillan. Cunningham has upside though with some tweaks.

A Jarrad Davis is exactly what this D needs.

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I wish it was probable for us to get Mcmillan and Jarrad Davis at the same time. I'd love that!

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14 hours ago, krunk said:

I see some talent in Cunningham and there is upside with that big frame. Think when you're that tall its hard to get real low and a lot of tackles end up being arm tackles, although he does bring them down. I mean its abnormal for a ILB to be 6'4". He doesnt lack for effort and want to. Hes athletic and all the other good stuff. I still like Jarrad Davis the best, and Raekwon Mcmillan. Cunningham has upside though with some tweaks.

If he could add some weight he is similar to LaVar Arrington a little faster though..

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4 hours ago, krunk said:

I wish it was probable for us to get Mcmillan and Jarrad Davis at the same time. I'd love that!

Davis and Walker maybe. Or your boy Maybin who could be had in the 4th. Maybe Davis Round 2 and Maybin 4.

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Just got done with McMillan and he's far better than Cunningham. He can cover RBs out the backfield one on one and TEs, although he's not asked too a lot. 

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It'll be interesting to see how Foster looks and does in the National Championship game. He tweaked his knee against Washington and was wearing a big brace on it.

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On 12/29/2016 at 5:26 AM, Defjamz26 said:

So far I'm 3 games in (vs Tennessee 2015, vs Missouri 2016, and Tennessee 2016) and I'm not impressed. This guys overruns everything and all I see is missed tackle after missed tackle. Or he whiffs on them really bad. Doesn't shed blocks and he makes a lot of wrong reads. I watched against Tennessee where he was so busy with a lineman the RB ran right past him.

 

Also He's one of the worst tacklers I've seen in terms of technique. He hits up high and sometimes he's around guy's neck. He doesn't wrap up but instead just tries to sling guys to the ground. I see the speed but it's no good if you can't finish. I'd really like @Dustin take on him because he doesn't look ready to me. He also has a super lean frame for an ILB and seriously lacks power. Looks like a 2nd round prospect to me. He should go back to school.

I literally just watched about 15-20 minutes of tape on this kid and completely agree with you.

He's built more like a corner (not an NFL MLB) and I think he would get ran over in the NFL by most lineman and backs.

90% of his tackles looked like they were above the shoulder blades.

I saw a kid with some good instincts and a good burst, but he looked more like a project to me and someone who could get drafted to possibly play SS.

I'm going to be highly disappointed if the Colts draft him. Please, just no.

 

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Here's the thing with Cunningham. He's a great athlete and he has the potential to be a fantastic full-time ILB. The problem is he doesn't fit on this team. The Colts already have too many guys that take bad angles, don't wrap up, come in high, and are poor tacklers in general. In addition, Ryan has picked way too many guys the past 3 years that are considered projects. He can't afford to take any more projects in the 1st or 2nd round. For that reason, I wouldn't be surprised if Cunningham isn't even on our board come 1st or 2nd day of the draft.

 

As an aside, I was watching video on Alvin Kamara this morning. Check out this video that just got posted for his game vs Vandy. You see Cunningham routinely getting beat to the outside and taking poor angles on Kamara. That may end up being a bigger testament to Kamara's skill than Cunningham's, but he's been touted as an athletic sideline-to-sideline backer and it's not going to get easier in the NFL.

 

Kamara vs. Vanderbilt 2016

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